Friday, 1st April 2016
Good afternoon, contrarians,
On the menu today….
It is obviously early days as far as the 2016 flat season is concerned….
There’s not much in the way of form in the book….
We don’t know how forward or behind specific yards are with their seasonal preparations. We can’t tell for sure which seasonal debutants will need a run and which will turn up on-song and ready to rock and roll….
We don’t know which 3yos have improved most for another winter….
In short there is a lot we don’t know, much we can only guess at and plenty of scope for getting it wrong…..
But that’s not going to stop me playing in the Lincoln this weekend – nor the Spring Mile for that matter (which I’ll be targeting in ATC Extra later this afternoon).
Some punters might prefer to leave well alone until the season and the form starts to take some definite shape. But I want to get stuck in.
I love the really big conditions races where it’s all about quality. But on a betting level the big handicaps – where it most often boils down to advantage – are where it’s at for me. I love looking through a big-field for ‘live’ contenders trading at big prices. And I can’t let races like the Lincoln and the Spring Mile pass me by without throwing a couple of shots….
And, in the spirit of the Against the Crowd column, I am happy to share the details of where my money will be going this weekend – for those who want to follow me in and for those who simply take an interest in these things….
There’s been no draw bias to speak of in the Lincoln over the last few years – with winners and placers coming from all parts of the track in renewals run since 2009. Studying bare stall numbers doesn’t lead us anywhere….
But looking at where the pace is at does. And the way I read it says that the hottest pace is most likely to be on the low side of the draw – Bravo Zolo (stall 2) likes to go at things early. So too Beach Bar (stall 9).
With quite a few that like to race prominently clustered around that pair, that side of the track might be a good place to be for a closer – a horse who likes to make his run later on from off-the-pace when the early pace-setters have burnt themselves and/or one another out….
The one that appeals is Andrew Balding’s MAN OF HARLECH at 16s.
He’s running out of stall 3 and should get a very nice tow into the business-end of the race from the horses over on his side.
He might also have a fitness edge on some of tomorrow’s opposition. Whilst more than half of tomorrow’s field haven’t been seen on a track for 3 months or more, Man Of Harlech was blowing the cobwebs away at Lingfield just last week where he kept on well.
That was over 10f but he hasn’t quite been getting home at the trips he’s tried most recently on the all-weather and tomorrow’s step back to a mile and to turf should suit. He’ll get the fast-pace he needs, he’s already shown he can handle the Yorkshire track and he won’t mind the ground.
The 5-year-old can build on some impressive performances last term – including a 4th place finish in the Cambridgeshire when last seen on turf – and he can certainly outrun this afternoon’s quotes.
I’ll be backing Andrew Balding’s horse each-way at that price. Keep an eye out on the place terms. Some of the bookies will have Enhanced Place Terms of 1/4 1-2-3-4-5 for the race. Victor Chandler and Skybet are already up with place terms to that effect. Racebets will be offering those terms on their day of race market.
The Contrarian Bet Box….
To recap where the value is in tomorrow afternoon’s Lincoln….
That is my take on tomorrow’s race. You will no doubt have your own ideas – and that’s exactly as it should be. You can watch the action unfold live on C4 & ATR.
That’s all from me for today. I’ll be back on Monday with some key considerations for next week’s Aintree meeting. Enjoy your weekend.
P.S. I’ll be back in your inbox a little later today with ATR Extra and my take on tomorrow’s Spring Mile at Doncaster….